Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Louvered Hood Panel Insert

By Shawn Pagan

Send this article to a friend!

At this point you are really working toward the home stretch.The next step is to clean up the new edges you made while cutting. I used a small file to shave off any metal and even things out as best I could. Then, I used a black gloss spray paint to finish off the edges of the metal, just to make sure I don't get any rust down the road.

Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Aluminum Customs Cyclone
I filed the cut down from the top and the bottom so I had a nice clean edge.
A quick spray of "almost" matching gloss black paint will protect the edges from rust.

Now comes the fun part - installing the hood insert. After removing the tape from the edges of the aluminum (which took several minutes since it was dried on and the small pieces that didn't come right off were hard to see on the shiny aluminum), lay the panel on the hood, lining up the center marks (that you made before) and the four pre-cut holes in the panel that line up with the alignment holes from the template.

Then, beginning in the center of the top and bottom drill the holes, install the bolts, washer and nut in each hole, then move to the next one. You do not want to drill all the holes at once, you want to move along one hole, one bolt at a time as the aluminum will bend slightly and configure to the shape of your hood. Also, one of the reasons I mentioned in the beginning about finishing the panel later is so that you can drill the holes with the panel in place an not make any errors that would mar or ruin the finish you put on it.

Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Lay the hood panel in place. I went ahead and bolted down the window tie down strap to help hold the panel in place.
After you drill the front and rear center holes, you will need to enlarge the bottom of the front hole where it passes through the hood support.
Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
I found that with an adjustable hole saw (so the pilot bit isn't too long) the same size bit as the guide holes you drilled works perfectly.
Once you have tightened the center bolts down, drill the bolts to the right and left of the front center bolt.
Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Just keep working your way around.
At this point, I've gone to the corners and will start again at the rear of the hood

Now that you have everything you can basically reach from the front it's time to move to the rear of the hood. You will now be stretching the panel into place, making sure to put pressure on the panel before you drill each hole in order to make sure your drilled hole is as aligned as you can get it.

Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Notice here the panel it not laying flat. That is why you need to work slowly and do one hole and one bolt at a time.
Install and tighten each bolt from the center out (see my blue marked center line).
Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Then move one bolt out on the next side.
When you are done, the panel will lay flat and smooth.

Now lift the hood back into place on your rig, tighten the front hinge bolt first with the hood aligned on the front. This will help you to get the sliding hinge nuts tightened up in a position to maintain the alignment of the hood. Then open it up and replace all the hardware you took off - the window bumpers, the sprayers, the ground strap, the hoses and any electrical wiring.

Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Simply pull the bumpers back thru, then replace all the other hardware you removed.
This is what the inside of your hood will look like (only I hope yours is a little straighter).
Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone
Here you can see how thin the piece is. In aluminum, is stands out on the hood.
Finally, here is the view from the front of the overlay, in place, bolted down on the hood.

The Aluminum Customs Cyclone Louvered Hood Insert is reasonably easy to install with a few hand tools, and the look is quite pleasing when done. The additional air flow under the hood and the ability for hot air to leave when sitting still in desert climates or high altitude should make it easier for your vehicle to cool itself off.

Aluminum Customs Cyclone Aluminum Customs Cyclone

I am very happy with the look of the louvers in raw aluminum, however I intend to powdercoat the piece in a gray/black vein to match the rear corners and tire carrier on my rig.

Check out the Aluminum Customs website for more pictures on their customers' rigs.


Aluminum Customs
Distributed out of Houston, TX


Shawn Pagan

Shawn Pagan is a staff writer for as well as Our Land Use Editor. Shawn resides north of Denver, CO.

Contact Shawn at

Help spread the ROCKCRAWLER world!           Share on Facebook

©1997-2015 ROCKCRAWLER 4x4 and Off-Road Magazine. All Rights Reserved.   -